Oh no! A Business Analyst is coming to talk to me. They said something about wanting to beam me! What the…?
Its ok, don’t be afraid. They’re not coming to ask you about your favourite Captain on the Enterprise, because we all know it’s Kirk. They just want to understand how your business works, and unfortunately they’ve started off on the wrong foot.
Let’s look at what they really want, and more importantly why they want it.
They need to understand what you do…they may say strange things like “who does what” but what they’re really interested in is your business process…“customer orders product”, “account clerk processes invoice”, etc.
They’re looking for high-ish level processes that you do; not the infinite detail; start at the level that you’d talk to someone that you don’t know that well at a BBQ. Then work down from there. If you ran a pizza business and wanted to explain it in greater detail than “I run a pizza business”, what would you say? Maybe “customer orders product” or “employee delivers pizza”.
Why does this BA want to know that detail? Simple. The BEAM methodology (more of that later) believes that a business’ data should reflect its business processes. Obvious really, if you have a business process that’s important, then it’s probably worth measuring…how many customer orders you get, what’s the value of the invoices, etc. So we start by identifying the business processes.
They’ll then go on to ask you other questions, when, how many, why, how, where, who and what?
They’ll do this to get into the detail of the data; “how do customers order? When do they order? How do you know they ordered?”
A few simple questions and we’re well on the way to understanding what you do. And more importantly you’ll get the data warehouse and reports that you want and it will reflect your business process.
And the final benefit, the real reason you need to get “beamed”…you’ll be able to see the conversation that you’ve had with the Business Analyst in a simple to read template. This will be the same template that the Developer will use for the build. No loss in translation. Everyone speaking the same language…and it’s not Klingon!
BEAM is Business Event Analysis Modelling, is an awesome methodology from the book “Agile Data Warehouse Design” by Lawrence Corr and Jim Stagnitto. If you want to know more, have a look at Shaun’s blog or give me a call.
You can book your place on the next Data Driven Requirements Gathering Course here.